Sunday, 22 January 2012

Melange A Trois by Merlin Griffiths

It's often the simple drinks that can impress the most. The Melange A Trois was made by Merlin Griffiths of The Priory Tavern on my last visit. Merlin has an incredible palate and as soon as he tasted Jade Liqueurs V.S. 1898 he knew exactly what he wanted to make with it. 

30ml Jade Liqueurs V.S. 1898 Absinthe
30ml White Cacao (Giffard)
30ml Lime Juice
Shake hard over ice, strain into a martini glass and garnish with orange penny zest and sprig of borage if available.

Inspired by the Daiquiri of course but this combination of flavours offers something quite unique. I've since tried this combo with other absinthes and have to admit that Merlin got it exactly right with the V.S. 1898! The herbaceous flavour profile and slight astringency of the V.S. really shines through and gives this drink an incredible complexity and depth of flavour.

For more information on the V.S. 1898 please visit the Jade Liqueurs website:

If you would like to taste Jade Liqueurs V.S. 1898 or any of the products in the Jade portfolio please email:

Something Hot to Drink for Valentines?

 Chocolat Chaud Chaud
(Hot Hot Chocolate)

20ml La Maison Fontaine Absinthe
15ml Creme de Chataigne  (Chestnut Liqueur)
Milky Hot Chocolate
Whipped Cream
Tiny Marshmallows and Cocoa Powder

The combination of these ingredients will surely melt anyone's heart! 
Add milky hot chocolate to the La Maison Fontaine and chestnut liqueur (or any nut liqueur) top with squirty whipped cream, marshmallows and dust with cocoa powder.

 The above Hot Hot Chocolate was the genius of Merlin of The Priory Tavern in Kilburn. 
The Priory Tavern

The Priory is a wonderful local pub and it was lovely to bump into so many familiar faces when I visited, even though I don't live local! The cocktail selection is not only comprehensive but they will also mix something up for you on the spot, which is surprising for a pub - but not when we realise it's Merlin Griffiths' bar - and talk about reasonable! only £4.50 Mon - Fri, 4 - 7 pm! Tuesday is Stewsday with homemade stew and chunky bread for a mere £6.50 and I cannot wait to try out their Bloody Mary and Sunday Roast!

The other stroke of genius made by Merlin was this pretty in pink drink that would also look the part for Valentines Day.

Blanche et Noire
(White and Black)

50ml La Maison Fontaine Absinthe
25ml Schweppes Blackcurrant Cordial
100ml Water
Squeeze Fresh Lime

Pile all the ingredients over chunky ice and make sure that it is a healthy squeeze of lime.  We discussed the relative merits of Schweppes Blackcurrant Cordial and agreed that it was probably the best cordial to use because it has just the right sugar content and is usually found in every pub/bar. There is of course nothing new about this wonderfully retro style of drink, it had just never occurred to me to try it with La Maison Fontaine! What a revelation.

Happy Valentines Day!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Absinthe Infusion by Gavin McGowan Madoo of Bar Boulud, London

There's no doubt in my mind of the impact La Maison Fontaine has had on developing interest in the Absinthe category since its launch in the Summer of 2010. The starting point was to create a great brand - La Maison Fontaine is a small batch, artisanal and authentic French Absinthe dressed in a very chic and contemporary package (an inspired fusion of old and new) which also tastes amazing. Next was to educate, educate and educate some more, but this essential education was not just directed at the Drinks Industry but also to the General Public at large. This involved Art Exhibitions, Film Shows, High Profile Parties, Fashion Shows and many retail tastings, all great opportunities to dispel the usual myths about Absinthe. Even with all the right boxes ticked La Maison Fontaine goes the extra mile by furnishing bars with the tools to give their customers a truly authentic Absinthe experience - a traditional Absinthe fountain.

Above is Gavin from Bar Boulud, London about to make his Absinthe Infusion with his four arm LMF fountain, in the background is his two arm LMF fountain he keeps for a perfect serve....

La Maison Fontaine was at the forefront of making infusions in fountains, the 'Fontaine of Youth' is testament to that - check the Art of Imagination on the website:

Gavin took the infusion idea and ran with it, he did something that we had never seen before (or would recommend), rather than infusing the iced water in the fountain he replaced the water with alcohol (vodka) and La Maison Fontaine. He placed the zest of two lemons and two limes into the fountain and added a ratio of 1 part vodka to 1.5 part La Maison Fontaine. He lets it macerate for 4-7 days, depending on the quality of the fruit, after which time he removes the fruit so it doesn't over extract. He serves on the rocks with a lemon/lime garnish.

The resulting Absinthe Infusion is an intensly fruity number with big citrus, anise, herb and floral notes. So the next time you are in Knightsbridge do pop in to Bar Boulud (
and try Gavin's Absinthe Infusion - we'd love to hear what you think...